Implementation Plan Next Steps?!
As I work this academic year in rolling out a 1:1 program, I have thought long and hard about the next steps after the initial "out of the box" experience has worn off and the machines find their place in the daily lives of the students and their teachers. Now in month 6 of the implementation, I am faced with some decision making about the next steps to drive home the initial success of our program. Success, in this case, is a feel of "normalcy" around the school with technology. The networks is working well. Service centers are up and running. Teachers expect things to work most of the time and indeed, I think they do. They are also meeting the daily challenge of using the machines in activities and units daily. Technology standards are being met more readily. Students are expecting to use their machines for projects, research, lessons in all subject areas. Again... the normalcy of the implementation is beginning to set in.
Most recently though I have struggled just a bit with the integration of the walk through protocols we have established at our school and the clear, consistent identification of quality technology use by teachers and students. I believe that many administrators and supervisors are still struggling with clarity around the NETS-S and NETS-T and the identification of specific examples where and when the standards are being implemented in classrooms. To the neophyte technology user, any technology use must be good technology use. We all know this is wrong!
I will be rolling out for my leadership team this next week the ISTE Classroom Observation Tool (ICOT). We will have them share specific examples of the "look-for" clues are to determine appropriate, strong and progressive use of technology in our classrooms. We will do side-by-side walkthroughs to develop our common understandings around the use of this very useful framework. It should be noted that the ICOT tool online is currently out of date as ISTE has not updated it for the updated NETS-T but that is an easy trade off for the other parts of the tool, and I (heaven forbid) even PRINTED it out for them to look at, pull apart and examine the sheer genius that is this observation tool.
The tool asks the observer to evaluate:
- the physical layout of the room
- student groupings
- the role the teacher is playing
- learning activities that are being used
- the essentiality of technology to the activity or lesson
- the specific technology tools being used by the teacher
- the specific technology tools being used by the students
- The NETS-Teachers being addressed (see attached)
- Total time for technology use during the walkthrough and...
A Three Minute Chart is provided to track technology:
- Use by Students (For learning or not?)
- Use by Teacher (for learning or not?)
I believe this framework has tremendous potential to help educational leaders as we learn to train our eye to the key components of technology use in our classrooms and make it possible for us to more effectively lead technology integration at our school. In the course of classroom observations school leaders make hundreds, if not thousands of professional judgments every week. This tool guides the user to structure those judgments more precisely and I also believe that over time the administrators will be able to use this information to make technology expectations more ubiquitous in our organization and judgments based on data gathered over time.
The fact is that we are at the point next academic year where the communication of expectations for teachers in the use of technology is going to be more important that the actual implementation and training of the use of technology tools. It is obvious that we have got to ramp up our expectations (with continued, persistent, consistent and insistent professional development support) or we will plateau and that could sound the death knell for our 1:1 program. Value added results are expected and if we don't deliver the program is done.
As part of the increase in expectations, I am hoping that next year we can do an all out ICOT observation month to gather school wide data for technology use in our classrooms. This will indeed bring forward the power of the NETS-A, and show the school the importance of implementation attention for systematic improvement, visionary leadership and a focus on professional practice.